Page images

they owe themselves so much, as to retire to the private exercise of their honour ;-to be great within, and by the constancy of their resolutions, to teach the inferior world how they ought to judge of such principles, which are asserted with so generous and so unconstrained a trial.

But this voluntary neglect of honours has been of rare example in the world:* Few men have frowned first upon fortune, and precipitated themselves from the top of her wheel, before they felt at least the declination of it. We read not of many emperors like Dioclesian and Charles the Fifth, who have preferred a garden and a cloister before a crowd of followers, and the troublesome glory of an active life, which robs the possessor of his rest and quiet, to secure the safety and happiness of others." Seneca, with the help of his philosophy, could never attain to that pitch of virtue: He only endeavoured to prevent his fall by descending first, and offered to resign that wealth which he knew he could no longer hold; he would only have made a present to his master of what he foresaw would become his prey; he strove to avoid the jealousy of a tyrant,— you dismissed yourself from the attendance and privacy of a gracious king. Our age has afforded us many examples of a contrary nature; but your lordship is the only one of this. Is is easy to discover in all governments, those who wait so close on fortune, that they are never to be shaken off at any turn: Such who seem to have taken up a resolution of being great; to continue their stations on the theatre of business; to change with the scene, and shift the vizard for another part-these men con

* Alluding to Lord Clifford's resignation of an office he could not hold without a change of religion.

demn in their discourses that virtue which they dare not practise: But the sober part of this present age, and impartial posterity, will do right, both to your lordship and to them: And, when they read on what accounts, and with how much magnanimity, you quitted those honours, to which the highest ambition of an English subject could aspire, will apply to you, with much more reason, what the historian said of a Roman emperor," Multi diutius imperium tenuerunt! nemo fortius reliquit.'

To this retirement of your lordship, I wish I could bring a better entertainment than this play; which, though it succeeded on the stage, will scarcely bear a serious perusal; it being contrived and written in a month, the subject barren, the persons low, and the writing not heightened with many laboured scenes. The consideration of these defects ought to have prescribed more modesty to the author, than to have presented it to that person in the world for whom he has the greatest honour, and of whose patronage the best of his endeavours had been unworthy : But I had not satisfied myself in staying longer, and could never have paid the debt with a much better play. As it is, the meanness of it will shew, at least, that I pretend not by it to make any manner of return for your favours; and that I only give you a new occasion of exerci sing your goodness to me, in pardoning the failings and imperfections of,


Your Lordship's

Most humble, most obliged,

Most obedient servant,



This poem was written as far back as 1662, and was then
termed a Satire against the Dutch.

As needy gallants in the scriveners' hands,
Court the rich knave that gripes their mortgaged lands,
The first fat buck of all the season's sent,
And keeper takes no fee in compliment:
The dotage of some Englishmen is such
To fawn on those who ruin them-the Dutch.
They shall have all, rather than make a war
With those who of the same religion are.
The Straits, the Guinea trade, the herrings too,-
Nay, to keep friendship, they shall pickle you.
Some are resolved not to find out the cheat,
But, cuckold-like, love him who does the feat:
What injuries soe'er upon us fall,

Yet, still, The same religion, answers all :
Religion wheedled you to civil war,

Drew English blood, and Dutchmen's now would spare:
Be gull'd no longer, for you'll find it true,

They have no more religion, faith-than you;
Interest's the god they worship in their state;
And you, I take it, have not much of that.
Well, monarchies may own religion's name,
But states are atheists in their
very frame.
They share a sin, and such proportions fall,
That, like a stink, 'tis nothing to them all.
How they love England, you shall see this day;
No map shews Holland truer than our play;
Their pictures and inscriptions well we know ;*
We may be bold one medal sure to show.
View then their falsehoods, rapine, cruelty;
And think what once they were, they still would be:
But hope not either language, plot, or art;
'Twas writ in haste, but with an English heart:
And least hope wit; in Dutchmen that would be
As much improper, as would honesty.

*Amongst the pretexts for making war on the States of Holland were alleged their striking certain satirical medals, and engraving prints in ridicule of Charles II. See his proclamation of war in 1671-2.

[ocr errors]



} English Merchants, his Friends.

Captain MIDDLETON, an English Sea Captain.
PEREZ, a Spanish Captain.

HARMAN Senior, Governor of Amboyna.
The Fiscal.

HARMAN Junior, son to the Governor.
VAN HERRING, a Dutch Merchant.

ISABINDA, betrothed to TOWERSON, an Indian Lady.

JULIA, wife to Perez.
An English Woman.
A Skipper.
Two Dutch Merchants.


« PreviousContinue »